[MUSIC PLAYING] TOM SCHRYVER: Grow New York at its core is a startup business competition. New York's a big agriculture state. And what we're trying to do is bring startups here to make their food and ag innovation something that has a home here.
It is a competition. Every year, we're going to give away prizes of up to a million dollars. We'll give away $3 million a year to high-growth startups that agree to work here in the center part of New York state.
Cornell's role in Grow New York is to make it a reality. So we are the land grant university for New York state. And Cornell has one of the top ag schools in the world. We're a great place to convene the community. But really, this is a big tent approach. We want this to be about the three regions of upstate New York that are supporting this competition and about making this part of New York state the leader in the world for food and ag innovation.
The point here is to bring leaders in food and agriculture innovation into the state and into this region, to connect them to resources so that they can grow their companies with a presence here.
One of the things that we've seen by doing this is that companies that win money are already that much further ahead about putting roots in place. But companies that don't win money are also in a position to make connections that they wouldn't have made otherwise.
We've been funded by Empire State Development through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative for three years. And so we're really excited about the opportunity to do this for multiple years, see where the momentum will build over time. And we know from experience that we'll go out of the gate great in year one. And it'll only build from there.
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Finalists in Grow-NY, a business competition for innovative food and agriculture startups, are fanning out through upstate New York to meet with potential business partners as they vie for $3 million in prizes.